All you need to know about lawyers is not what you have seen on television. A good understanding of lawyers and how to select one is crucial to successfully resolving legal issues. Merely knowing someone is a lawyer is not a sufficient basis for seeking legal advice from them. Here are some key things to know about lawyers.
They Must Be Authorised to Practice
To legally practice law, lawyers must be licensed by the regulatory body where they are providing legal services. Typically, becoming licensed/authorised involves having a law degree, postgraduate diploma in legal practice (LPC) followed by two years of training contract under supervision in the Law firm and only then one can be licensed/authorised (Barristers are not considered in this article). This ensures sound knowledge of the laws for England and Wales. Laws change frequently, so familiarity with the up to date law where a legal issue arises is a must for a solicitor who is to advise or represent you.
When selecting a lawyer, the first inquiry is whether an individual is licensed to practice and has expertise in which your legal issue exists. While your cousin Joe who lives across town may be a lawyer, his profession alone does not make him competent to assist you or indeed a solicitor. Joe is familiar with the laws in England and Wales, but only a law degree does not allow him to practice law. Also, if actual court representation is required, Joe cannot appear in court if he is not licensed to practice. When you select a licensed solicitor you are protected should things go wrong as they are required to adhere to high ethical and regulatory standards, this protection is not available with non-licensed lawyers and certainly the level of protection is not the same with the advisers.
Their Area of Practice Matters
To obtain a job, who you know is often the most important thing. In hiring a solicitor, what they know is far more important than knowing them personally. The solicitor you hire should be someone experienced in and knowledgeable about the type of legal issue you face.
Just because your golf buddy, Fred, is personally known does not make him competent to handle your legal matter. Fred must be competent at handling the type of legal issue presented. You wouldn’t call a plumber to fix your air conditioning, and you shouldn’t call just any lawyer to represent you in a Litigation case. The key factor is whether a solicitor practices in the area of law involved and not whether you know them personally.
There Are Solicitors and Lawyers
Some solicitors handle a wide range of legal matters. They draft wills, Immigration law, handle divorces and incorporate businesses. Other solicitors concentrate on a specific area of the law such as Employers Dispute or Immigration Law.
When your legal issue involves a specialized area of the law, a solicitor who focuses their practice in that specific area should be retained. Special issues call for special handling. You wouldn’t ask your family doctor to perform brain surgery on you; you would seek a brain surgeon to perform it. Likewise, you would not ask an adviser to handle a complicated tax matter; you would retain a tax solicitor.
They Have Personalities
Even if a solicitor is licensed to practice in your practice area, specializes in the area your legal issue lies and has the expertise to handle a specific area of the law, a practical consideration matters. Do you feel comfortable interacting with the solicitor? Do they inspire confidence? This individual will be dealing with you about matters of consequence in your life, which may be emotionally charged. Is the solicitor a good fit for you to work with under these circumstances?
When legal help is needed, not just any lawyer will do. You will have to choose the right solicitor as a legal adviser or unlicensed lawyers may not meet such high-quality service standards. The appropriate solicitor meets certain criteria. They are authorised to practice in England and Wales. They work in the area of the law which relates to your issue. They have the knowledge and expertise to handle a speciality issue. You will be partners with your solicitors in facing your legal issue. Choose wisely, as a successful outcome may hinge on hiring the right solicitor.
If you or someone you know faces legal issues, call one of our solicitors for help and guidance.